It is loving your heart month, and heart health awareness. Today, we will discuss exercise, and how it can reduce your risk for Cardiac disease, but also as it relates to people with CKD. Remember, everyone is different, and for some people exercise may not reduce the risk. Always ask your doctor before beginning an exercise routine, especially if you plan on doing more than a basic walking routine. Vigorous exercise can be dangerous for some people, and for people with CKD, studies show that intense exercise may increase Creatinine levels, at least for short periods of time. If you have CKD, or Heart Disease already, be sure to talk to your doctor as to what exercises are best for you. Generally, most health care practitioners will probably be OK with walking.
I did a post on walking, a couple weeks ago. You can find it in the archives. Most anyone can walk, and unless your doctor tells you no exercise, then chances are good you can walk too. Me, I have CKD stage 3, and I try to aim for 50-60% intensity of my Maximum Heart Rate. To find your MHR you subtract your age from 220, then figure out 50% of that. So, for my age, my MHR would be 85 beats a minute, at 50% intensity. I try to stay in that range. This is very light exercise and it is hard to stay in that range if your goal is to increase your fitness level.
Of course, vigorous exercise is going to have a higher risk reduction. According to medical websites, up to 25% risk reduction if you exercise vigorously, of cardiac disease risk. For me, who works out moderately, it is only a 10% risk reduction of reduction to cardiac risk. But, for me, I can’t risk my one good kidney for an organ that right now is functioning fine. Now that may change in the future. Vigorous exercise would be running, jogging, bike riding, aerobics, etc. Moderate exercise would be walking, yard work, or golfing. Low-intensity aerobics can also fit under moderate exercise. I recommend anyone starting out, do a walking program first. This will increase your strength, balance, and circulation, preparing you for a higher endurance program.
Using weights also adds to the cardiac risk reduction. However, again if you have CKD this can raise your Creatinine levels. So, kidney websites recommend doing Pilates, or Yoga for toning, instead of weight lifting. I have not started either of those yet, but I intend to.
Even 15 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity will benefit your heart. The goal is to eventually build up to 60 minutes, at least 5 days a week. But, if you can only do 5 or 10 minutes a couple days a week, then start there. It is important to start somewhere. Any activity is better than no activity at all. Your heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it will take time, and work to make it stronger.
Know to watch for warning signals, especially if you have CKD or an already underlying cardiac disease. You do want to have difficulty carrying on a full conversation, but you don’t want to be breathing so hard that you are gasping for air, or can’t speak at all. That is a sign that you are working too hard, and you need to stop and rest. Learn to check your heart rate, before, during, and after you exercise. Remember you want to stay within the MHR, as stated above. The older you are the lower your MHR will be, so it is imperative you always speak to your doctor before starting an exercise program, and that you learn to properly monitor your heart rate and breathing during exercise. Walking around your house is not an exercise program. We all walk. Fitness walking is an exercise program. You will expect to have some muscle pain, after exercising, especially if you are sedentary. But, chest pain, pain in the jaw, or neck, or any intense pain anywhere, can be indicative of an issue and you should stop and rest right away. Also, make sure you stay hydrated. Drink before, during, and after. Don’t exercise in intense heat. The goal is not to be a super athlete but to decrease your risk of cardiac disease.
Watch the short video below that talks about reducing cardiac risk, and reducing the risk of cognitive decline with exercise as simple as walking.
My disclaimer is easy to remember. Nothing on this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advice. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.